Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A couple of notes on terrain types


While I was mapping yesterday I had a few thoughts about characterizing orienteering terrain types. These aren't well thought out, but I thought I'd get them down as notes for the future.

You can get a lot of information about the terrain from just looking at a map. If you were to categorize terrain types, most (maybe all) of the information you'd need could be pulled from a map. But, there are a few things that you can't always be sure of.

Footing. Around here, the ground is hard. Not as hard as running on a road, of course, but hard enough that you don't give up a lot of extra energy to run. In contrast, lots of Swedish terrain is soft. It is like running on a mattress. You have to expend a lot of energy to push off. The firmness of the footing isn't apparent from just looking at a map (though you can make educated guesses). Hudson Valley terrain looks Swedish on the map, but the footing is a lot firmer.

Height of thickness. Around here we have lots of thick terrain. But there are different kinds. Some of the thick stuff is mostly low brush at about knee height. Some of it is young forest where the thickness is higher, mostly above waist height. You use different running techniques to get through these types of thickness. In the lower stuff you just stay upright and light your knees (actually, a bit like running in soft Swedish terrain). In the higher stuff, you run a bit bent over at the waist, shuffling a bit and often pushing aside branches with your hand.

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posted by Michael | 9:01 AM


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